Care England chief says 'the buck stops' with Matt Hancock over Covid care home deaths

27 April 2022, 19:23 | Updated: 28 April 2022, 00:23

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The chief of Care England has insisted "the buck stops" with Matt Hancock after the former Health Secretary blamed thousands of Covid care home deaths on Public Health England (PHE)'s advice.

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Professor Martin Green told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr "it is not acceptable to say no one really gave the advice", adding the situation didn't require "anything other than common sense".

It comes after the High Court ruled government policies on discharging untested hospital patients into care homes at the start of the coronavirus pandemic were "unlawful".

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Patients were rapidly discharged into care homes without testing during the early stages of the pandemic, despite the risk of asymptomatic transmission, with government documents showing there was no requirement for this until mid-April.

Bereaved families and care groups said the ruling proves the "protective ring" Mr Hancock said had been put around care homes was a "sickening lie".

A spokesman for Mr Hancock said PHE had failed to tell ministers what they knew about asymptomatic transmission and he wished it had been brought to his attention sooner.

Prof Green, CEO of Care England, said: "Everybody knows how vulnerable people living in care homes are because they're living with range of different health conditions so it is not acceptable to say no one really gave the advice.

"Frankly I'm fed up with politicians when things go wrong demanding chief executives are sacked or people are accountable.

"Frankly you don't need a lot of advice to know that if you send somebody with a serious life-threatening virus into a situation where the majority of the people they are going to be living with are very vulnerable because of their own health conditions, this is something that you shouldn't do.

"Everybody should understand that when you are secretary of state the buck stops at the end of your desk."

He added: "If you're going to discharge people who have clinical need you should to be saying well what are the resources that you need to put around them to make sure it’s safe discharge and I don't think that requires anything other than common sense."